A Treatise on My Thesis

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I’m currently sitting at my desk having a lovely evening drinking hot apple cider, listening to Christmas music, and working on my thesis proposal.

Wait a second…

While trying to come up with a snappy title for this post, I typed “words that rhyme with thesis” into Google and got these gems: sleepless, grievance, inconvenience. No, really it’s not that bad at all. Actually I’m quite enjoying reading articles and fleshing out the methods of the project (I say that now, right?).

So, now it’s time for the big reveal! I shall speaketh the pretence of the secret thesis (despite its incompleteness) and you all shall know its neatness.

For the next 9ish months I’ll be studying the neural correlates of pitch expectation using EEG recordings. I’ve already started learning how to run EEGs (it’s really great) and because this project is a continuation of another project my supervisor and others just completed last year, the paradigm is basically complete except for a few details.

I chose this project because EEGs are awesome and it fits nicely with the work I did in Annabel Cohen’s lab in melodic completion. I did a lot of reading while I was at UPEI about models of expectation in music, so now I have the opportunity to look into yet another model, that of unsupervised statistical learning (Pearce, et al., 2010). I won’t go into all the details here, but basically I’ll be extending the previous studies on this topic by examining the possible influences of musical training on processing expectancies in a paradigm that attempts to mimic real-life listening. When you see me at Christmas, you’re quite welcome to ask me all about it.

Speaking of Christmas, only 6 days until I’m home! I’ve absolutely enjoyed London an Christmastime: exploring the Southbank German Christmas Market (photos follow!), watching the city light up, working some lovely Christmas parties, braving the shopping crowds, and ice skating (tomorrow!). Despite all that, I’m more than looking forward to spending Christmas in the States.

Thanksgiving was hard enough being away from home, so I realise how blessed I am to be able to have Christmas with  my family this year. Happy Christmas to you and yours. I can’t wait to hand out hugs very very soon!

Referenced:

Pearce, M.T., Ruiz, M.H., Kapasi, S., Wiggins, G.A., Bhattacharaya, J. (2010). Unsupervised statistical learning underpins computational, behavioural, and neural manifestations of musical expectation. NeuroImage, 50, 302-313.

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